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Iranica Journal of Energy & Environment 2 (3): 258-261, 2011

ISSN 2079-2115
IJEE an Official Peer Reviewed Journal of Babol Noshirvani University of Technology
doi: 10.5829/idosi.ijee.2011.02.03.2272

Nanotechnology as a Novel Tool in Fisheries and Aquaculture Development: A Review

Mohd Ashraf, Md. Aklakur, Rupam Sharma, Shabir Ahmad and Mujhid Khan
Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai India -400061
(Received: December 19, 2011; Accepted: August 6, 2011)

Abstract: Application of nanotechnology has revolutionized many frontier areas; it is paving a way for the
researchers for possible application in all sectors. Nanotechnology holds promise for various aspects of
fisheries and aquaculture development, like fish health management, fish breeding, aquatic environment
management and other areas. Nanotechnological intervention will help to meet the global challenges associated
with aquatic organism production, including environmental sustainability, human health, disease control and
food security. This aspect of aquaculture and Fisheries is still in infancy and require attention of the scientific
fraternity for its widespread use to harness its potential benefit. In the present paper a review on the application
of nanotechnology in fisheries and aquaculture is presented.
Key words: Nanotechnology % Environmental sustainability % Fish breeding % Human health % Food security

This could be possible due to vast potential of

nanotechnology not only in electronic and materials
science but also in human, animals, food and agriculture
sectors including aquaculture. The application of
nanotechnology in biomedical and biological science for
analysis of biomolecules, cancer therapy, development of
non-viral vectors for gene therapy, as transport vehicle
for DNA, protein and cells, has already received much
attention from the scientific fraternities. Although much
research and development are needed for potential use of
nanotechnology in aquaculture; there are numerous
glimpses of the future in application of this technology in
fish health management, water treatment in aquaculture,
animal breeding and harvest and post-harvest

Nanotechnology has been defined by the U.S.

understanding and control of matter at dimensions of
roughly 1 to 100 nm where unique phenomena enable
novel applications. More elaborately it may be defined as
the study, design, creation, synthesis, manipulation and
application of functional materials, devices and systems
through control of matter at the nanometer scale (1-100
nanometers, one nanometer being equal to 1 x 10G9 of a
meter) that is at the atomic and molecular levels and the
exploitation of novel phenomena and properties of matter
at that scale. There are several applications of
nanotechnology for aquaculture production that are being
developed. With a strong history of adopting new
technologies, the highly integrated fish farming industry
may be among the best to incorporate and commercialise
nanotech products.
The Fisheries and aquaculture industry can be
revolutionized by using Nanotechnology tools for rapid
disease detection, targeted delivery of drugs, DNA
vaccines and nutrients. As per National Science
Foundation (USA), current predication estimates value
global nanotechnology industry at one trillion by 2015.

Fish/Shellfish Health Management & Nano-Vaccines:

Outbreak of disease is one of the major stumbling blocks
in the development and sustainability of aquaculture.
Numbers of approaches have been applied in an attempt
to solve disease problem in aquaculture and vaccination
is one of them. But the use of oil emulsion as adjuvant
may cause major drawbacks as some fishes and
shellfishes show unacceptable levels of side effect. Thus
using nanoparticles carrier like chitosan and poly-lactide-

Corresponding Author: Mohd Ashraf, Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai India -400061.


Iranica J. Energy & Environ., 2 (3): 258-261, 2011

co-glycolide acid (PLGA) [1] of vaccine antigens together

with mild inflammatory inducers, one may achieve high
levels of protection to fishes and shellfishes not only
against bacterial but also from certain viral diseases
with vaccine induced side effect. Further the mass
vaccination of fish can be done using nanocapsules
which will be resistant to digestion and degradation.
These nanocapsules containing short strand DNA are
absorbed into the cell of fish, when applied to water.
The ultrasound mechanism is used to break the capsules
which in turn release the DNA thus elicting an immune
response to fish due to the vaccination. Similarly oral
administration of these vaccine and site specific release
of the active agent for vaccination will reduce the cost
and effort of diseases management, application of drug
and vaccine delivery lead to sustainable aquaculture.
Nanoparticles have been used as oral drug
carriers for several reasons such as improvement of
the bioavailability of drugs with poor absorption
characteristics [2], prolongation of the residence time
and digestive stabilization of drugs in the intestine [3],
high dispersion at the molecular level and consequently
efficient absorption [4], delivery of vaccine antigens to
gut-associated lymphoid tissue [5] and control of the
release of the drugs [6].

in aquaculture practices at commercial level. There is an

immense opportunity to use the nano delivery system of
nutraceuticals in fish feed. Moreover, various
nanoformulations of feed help to maintain better
consistency and taste of feed [9].
Water Treatment: Nano-enabled technologies are
available today for the removal of contaminants from
water. Nonmaterial in the form of activated materials like
carbon or alumina, with additives like zeolite and iron
containing compounds can be used in aquaculture
application for holding aerobic and anaerobic biofilm for
the removal of ammonia, nitrites and nitrate contaminants
Animal Breeding: Management of breeding is an
expensive and time consuming problem for culturing
animals. One solution that is currently being studied is a
nanotube implanted under the skin to provide real time
measurement of changes in the level of estradiol in the
blood. The nanotubes are used as a means of tracking
oestrus in animals [11] because these tubes have the
capacity to bind and detect the estradiol antibody at the
time of oestrus by near infrared fluorescence. The signal
from this sensor will be incorporated as a part of a central
monitoring and control system to actuate breeding.

Nanoparticles for Enhancement of Fish Growth:

Scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences have
reported that young carp and sturgeon exhibited a faster
rate of growth (30% and 24% respectively) when they
were fed nanoparticles of iron [7]. Research had
demonstrated that different Selenium source (nano-Se and
selenomethionine) supplemented in basal diet could
improve the final weight, relative gain rate, antioxidant
status as glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities and
Selenium concentration of crucian carp
(Carassius auratus gibelio). Moreover, nano-Se
appeared to be more effective than that of organic
selenomethionine in increasing muscle selenium content

Transgenesis: Microinjection to deliver DNA into

mammalian/fish cells is time-consuming and needs to be
precise, using micropipets and micromanipulators to
dispense very small volumes of material past into the
nucleus. Microinjection is the common method for genetic
engineering (GE) and the making of GE animal and fish. A
novel method of DNA delivery has recently been
described by using arrays of vertically aligned carbon
nanofibers (VACNFs) [12]. Cells are pressed onto the
DNA-coated VACNFs which then penetrate the cells and
introduce the DNA. VACNFs could help to overcome the
tedious microinjection involved in genetic manipulation
and the temporal expression of genes that are not
introduced into the inheritable genetic material of embryos
but could affect them at crucial times [12]. This temporary
expression could ameliorate the concerns that have
accompanied GE livestock, including safety of GE animal
food and products, cross-contamination of GE livestock
with non-GE varieties and long-term effects on animal
health and welfare from introduced genes [13].
The use of nanotechnology for DNA delivery
could provide benefits to animal health and the safety of
animal derived products. However, the safety of the silica

Nanodelivery of Nutraceuticals: Use of nutraceuticals for

health management, value addition and stress mitigation
in fish and shellfish is an emerging area of aquaculture
research. In spite of their low requirement, incorporation
of nutraceuticals involves higher cost. Thus, it needs to
be used in such a way that wastage of feeding is
minimized and there is efficient utilization of the nutrients.
Development of Nanodelivery system for these kinds of
molecules may address the problems of their application


Iranica J. Energy & Environ., 2 (3): 258-261, 2011

nanoparticles and their effects on early embryo

development post treatment warrant some investigation,
although they have been shown to have little toxicity [14].
Similar nanodelivery system may be attempted for DNA
incorporation in fish and shellfish.

address socioeconomic impacts and engage the public

not only for democratic and ethical reasons, but also to
ensure confidence in nanotechnology and animal

Nanotechnology Devices for Aquatic Environment

Management: Nevada-based Altair Nanotechnologies
deliver a water cleaning product for swimming pools
and fishponds called NanoCheck. It uses 40 nm particles
of a lanthanum-based compound which absorbs
phosphates from the water and prevents algae growth.
NanoCheck is currently undergoing large-scale testing in
swimming pools. It also holds promise for its use in
thousands of commercial fish farms worldwide where
algae and heavy metal removal and prevention are costly
at present.



Nanotechnology Studies in India: Though work on
nanotechnology is still in infancy which has been initiated
only a few years ago in India, the Central Institute of
Fisheries Education in Mumbai is currently working with
nanotechnology to encapsulate hormones like LHRHa for
breeding of fishes which showed a sustained effect on the
physiology of the fish than the commercially available
hormonal formulations or other inducing agents (personal
communication). Works are going on for development of
nano DNA vaccines against certain viral diseases of fish
and shellfish. Research is also going on nanodelivery of
different types of nanoencapsulted nutraceuticals
through feed for enhancement of growth.



Nanotechnology undoubtedly presents a major
opportunity for the economy and sustainable
development of aquatic resources in many countries
although the applications of nanotechnology for animal
production are very diverse. But there is growing concern
for possible toxicity of nano particles in biological system.
Owing to its small size it penetrates through the cell
membrane and enters to the body system which sometime
cause genotoxicity to the individual. However risks,
benefits and societal issues depend on the specific area
of application, composition of the nanomaterials, methods
of deployment and the ultimate goals. However, such
concerns should not prevent us from trying to think
upstream about nanotechnology and aquaculture as a
field of development. Careful monitoring and controlled
use can help us to maximize benefits and minimize risks. It
is necessary to develop sound oversight systems,




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